Everyone, everywhere wants to be of value. Everyone, everywhere wants to be loved.
Christians believe that, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, love came down as one of us.
This human being, Christians contend, entered into the mystery of human violence; suffering and dying, and rising to new life to show that our inheritant violent, competitive natures don’t need to fight for God’s love. It exists already. Waiting to be claimed.
Ancient Scriptures, Hebrew and New admit that this argument is “foolishness” to many (1 Corinthians 1:23). Surely, God’s wrath and curse is on one who would die in such a terrible way (Deuteronomy 21:22–23)? This is a “new” teaching, and this is “difficult” (John 6:60).
Yet, Christians, fools that they are, believe in this Jesus, the One they call the “Christ.”
Everytime I go to a conference, one related to ministry in any way, I’m struck by the need – of individuals, communities, and the world – for love. And I’m struck by the craziness, the radical nature of this message: that God is love; that God loves all; and that in the beautiful brokenness of humanity, God truly does dwell.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Today I’m grateful for a productive day on-site at Emmanuel Episcopal Church: for Emmanuel’s Administrator, Lisa, for her patience, energy & enthusiasm, for her willingness to process whatever comes; for a blessed time of Noonday Prayer from the BCP, for Office Hymns, for a tuned piano, for friendly visitors, for a coffee-shop pastoral meeting, for great and tightly-packed soy-latte foam! for Amy’s frozen meals saving us vegans on busy days, for the support of Julia, my spouse, for her efforts, energy, wisdom, love, care, compassion, support, and encouragement (no matter what comes our way!) (with prayers for those who do not feel that they have been gifted those things by people around them) and for those who pray for and minister to them — we give thee thanks, O God.
Monday, November 27
Today I’m thankful for a Sabbath Day Rest: for going back to bed and catching up on sleep. For a slow morning reading the Anglican and Episcopal History journal, for phone conversations with friends, lunch with the same, a gentle time of errands, a time making hummus, tomato & onion soup (and eating the same!) and for dinner around the table with Phoebe & James. For the warmth of a family home, for Hawaiian music piped out by my neighbors, for the smell of fresh laundry, flowers, and soap, for clean sheets, and a place to lay my head, for those who work to assist and care for those who go without these things — we give thee thanks, O God.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Today I was thankful for the Lord’s Day: for baptizing an amazing, beautiful baby boy at the 7:30 am service, for fitting 28 people in the chapel!, for bringing in the godparents via Skype, for the wonder of modern technology & all those that make it possible. And for the 10:00 am service, the gift of hula offered by one of Emmanuel’s keiki, for celebrating Christ the King and the Feast of the Holy Sovereigns, for Hawaiian food potluck after the service. And for time spend debriefing, and chatting after the service, for talking story over coffee, for the honesty, integrity, and faithfulness of those at Emmanuel Episcopal, for the way in which they have dedicated themselves to the life of the Gospel for so many years. And for time with family: a drive, a cuddle, a check-in, and dinner at Zippy’s, Hawai’i Kai – we give thee thanks, O God.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Today I was thankful for an amazing vegan breakfast with my family and a beautiful Emmanuel Episcopal family, for the smell and smile of a new-born, for family love, brotherly love, for sisterly love, for shared loved. And for the beauty of misty mountains, banana trees, strawberry guava, breadfruit, and lilikoi (passionfruit), for the sweetness of vegan donuts and vegan blueberry muffins, for the feel of a wooden floor on my feet, and the licks of a friendly puppy dog. For the love of companion animals everywhere, for those who care and support for friendless animals, for the Hawai’i Humane Society, for the ASPCA nationally, for the work of those committed to creation care – we give thee thanks, O God.
Friday, November 24, 2017
Today am thankful for a day of rest with Julia, Phoebe, and James: for the Waikiki Aquarium, for parking lots, for cross walks, for colorful people, for colorful fish/sea horses/dragons, for friendly aloha-filled staff, for God’s underwater creatures small and great, for the joy of children’s new discovery, for enthusiasm and creativity, for our family minivan, for public transportation, for GPS and Google Maps, for freshly mown grass and the friendly greeting of the houseless — we give thee thanks, O God.
*A note about the 2017 Season of Gratitude*
Beginning Thanksgivings Day, November 23 I’m commencing a “Season of Gratitude.” As for previous years (this is now year three), I pay tribute to the Rev. Michael Arase-Barham who posts in a similar way throughout November each year and inspired and gave blessing for me to post in this way. I’ll be posting a “gratitude post” for each day for 30/31 days, taking us through Advent and almost to Christmas 2017.
*Day 1 – Thanksgiving Day 2017*
Today I was grateful for my 3rd Thanksgiving in the U.S. and in these Hawaiian Islands, and for the opportunity to Celebrate Eucharist for the first time on this day. For the Eucharist: for the kiss of peace from friend and stranger, for the beautiful Harvest Festival-style arrangement, for the beauty of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, for our guest muscian. For Thanksgiving lunch: vegan, of course, specially purchased and prepared by dearest Julia, for Phoebe and James’ embrace of Thanksgiving trimmings, for Tofurky, for vegan pumpkin pie, for roast vegies, for peace and joy in my home, for those who make the world so, in small ways — we give thee thanks, O God.
Today I’m grateful for courageous people, for those who walk with strength and courage, for the faith of a houseless person who was praying in the street, for those who refuse to give up hope, for those who commit their lives to the poor, and for those who walk where the road leads them. And I’m grateful for ship’s captains, for the port masters, for the tug boat drivers, for the undersea divers, for the U.S. Coastguard, for Merchant Seamen and Women, for those who care for them, and for those who dedicate their lives to make sea voyages safer around the world.
Yesterday I was grateful for time back in the office at the Parish, time at the pool with Phoebe and James after work, the sights, sounds, and smells of Honolulu, the freshly greened church building, the peace of an empty parking lot, the calm of knowing you are loved, the hope that comes from a simple word, and the reassurance of things not seen.
Yesterday I was grateful for a safe flight home, sleep on the plane (unusual and quite a wonderful change), silly movies to distract from serious business, a quiet and respectful traveling companion, friendly and hospitable flight crew, and a smooth ride through customs. And I was grateful to be able to see the smiling faces of my wife and children once again, and to catch up on all their news and new learning.